December 2020 - Herb Deutsch

Herb Deutsch outside the Moog Music building in Asheville, NC
The December 2020 episode of the Theremin 30 Podcast features music from Sweden, the UK, and Switzerland. Rick's interview guest is synthesizer pioneer Herb Deutsch.

▶️ Listen to this episode on Spotify.


  • "Panis Angelicus" - Rewired Stockholm (Stockholm, Sweden)
  • "Kumo Dub" - Gaudi with Mad Professor (London, England, UK)
  • "Birdies" - Therminal C (Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • "A Burst of Colour" - Kevin Sinnott (Liverpool, England, UK)

    *The full-length recordings featured in this show were used with the knowledge and permission of the artists and composers. Please support the artists by visiting their websites, purchasing their recordings, and attending their performances. 


  • "Opera Glasses" - Phlogiston Theory & Ron Allen (Denver, CO / Seattle, WA, USA)
  • "Time Shadows" - Phlogiston Theory (Denver, CO, USA)
  • "No Static at All" - Phlogiston Theory (Denver, CO, USA)
  • Excerpt from "Longing" composed by Herb Deutsch (Massapequa Park, NY, USA), performed by thereminist Darryl Kubian (Browning Center, VT, USA) and pianist Nancy Deutsch ((Massapequa Park, NY, USA)






Copyright 2020 Rick Reid 



Please note: This is a machine-generated transcript that has not been manually edited. There will be numerous errors. Check back soon for a corrected version.

David Brower  0:04  
This is Theremin 3030 minutes of Theremin news, news events and interviews with a new episode about every 30 days. Now here's your host from Denver, Colorado, USA, Rick Reid.

Rick Reid  0:19  
Hello and welcome to America's number one monthly Theremin music podcast. In this episode, I'll play some great new music from rewired Stockholm goudy terminal C and Kevin Senate. And my special guest is synthesizer pioneer herb Deutsch, but we're not going to talk about synthesizers. Let's get the festivities started with music recorded 20 meters below ground in Sweden's first nuclear reactor from their new EP release. The r1 recordings here is rewired Stockholm with Panis angelicus or the bread of angels by French classical composer says are Frank

Rick Reid  7:21  
We started the podcast with classical music from wired Stockholm, featuring Martin Anderson on Theremin and Carl herdsmen on piano with the song recorded inside arwen Hall. It's part of the no longer operational nuclear reactor built in the 1950s below the kth Royal Institute of Technology. It's from rewired stockholms latest EP the r1 recordings available now on Spotify. After that, we heard Gowdy with mad Professor on a really fun track called kuhmo dub. It's from the recent gauti album 100 years of Theremin the dub chapter. You can listen to or download the whole album from all of the usual places including Bandcamp and Amazon. coming up in the next segment, I've got some ornithological music from Coralie a injure, so stay tuned.

Rick Reid  8:24  
Coralie a ginger has been a very active leader and innovator in the Theremin community for many years. Under her stage name terminal C. Quarterly released her first full length album this year. Song j is electronic or electronic dreams poorly tells me that the song I'm about to play for you was not multitrack she performed the melody accompaniment and sound effects all at the same time by linking her mug ether wave pro to modular synthesizers using control voltage. I love the title. This is called birdies.

Rick Reid  14:04  
That was birdies by terminal see from her 2020 album soldiers electronic you can buy a digital download of the whole album on Bandcamp also check out the Facebook group quarterly runs called Theremin and synth. I'll post a link to it in this month show notes. Coming up next I'll visit with my special guest herb Deutsch. So stay tuned.

Rick Reid  14:37  
If you haven't heard of herb Deutsch, he's a professor emeritus of electronic music and composition at Hofstra University. In the 1960s. He used his musical expertise to help Bob Moog develop the first mogh modular synthesizers, and that historic collaboration may not have happened. If it weren't for a shared interest in Theremin I reached her by telephone Just a few days ago to find out how it all happened. Herb Deutsch thank you so much for being on Theremin 30.

Herb Deutsch  15:07  
Well, you're welcome and it is a pleasure to be on with you. I look forward to talking with you.

Rick Reid  15:13  
I hope that your family is staying safe in this strange year we have and wish you the best for the holidays.

Herb Deutsch  15:20  
It is a strange idea that we're having but so far thank god things personally are going okay.

Rick Reid  15:28  
I first met you at knob con a few years ago when you got the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Herb Deutsch  15:33  
Oh, yeah, yeah.

Rick Reid  15:34  
That was all a synthesizer convention. I'm going to do something unusual today and we're not going to talk about synthesizers. We're going to talk about their amens.

Herb Deutsch  15:43  
Okay, I put them both in a world that I love.

Rick Reid  15:47  
Now you got your first Theremin? What around 1962 61?

Herb Deutsch  15:53  
Yes, I got my first Theremin. After reading Bob moulds article on the Theremin what it is and how to make it fascinated me very much because, of course, I knew what a Theremin was. I never had one. And so it was a fascinating thing to read. And as soon as I read it, I call his office. The phone number was given in the article. And I call that phone number. And of course his wife answered and I've probably said this a million times through a million people, but I did the same thing everyone else would do. And I said Bob Moog here and of course she she corrected me. He wasn't there, but she sent me a Theremin kit, which I believe cost me about $45.

Rick Reid  16:46  
You were a professor at Hofstra at the time, right?

Herb Deutsch  16:49  
Yes, yeah, absolutely. I had been a professor at Hofstra for what I did was in my second year of teaching, did

Rick Reid  16:56  
you use the Theremin in your classroom,

Herb Deutsch  16:58  
I used it to some degree once I had gotten it assembled. And then in fact, I bought another Theremin from Bob. And I used it in the classroom a little bit. The problem was getting it and the students to relate well enough to deal with ear training, which is what naturally you'd want to use the Theremin for the idea of sight reading and ear training.

Rick Reid  17:22  
When you were teaching. Did you introduce the Theremin two generations of students? Or was it just back in the 60s

Herb Deutsch  17:29  
I taught at Hofstra for 57 years. I did not retire from teaching until about five years ago and then the university four years ago actually. And I always taught at least once every semester, a course on the history of electronic music. You know the importance of the growth of electronic music and the music industry. And I always talked about the Theremin or had to play to show

Rick Reid  18:01  
you eventually did Meet Bob Mogae because of the Theremin. Is that right?

Herb Deutsch  18:05  
Oh, absolutely. After I made that phone call. I did Meet Bob Moke. And I was in my third year of teaching, but I was a kid. I actually met him at the New York State Education conference, which was going on in Rochester. So he was there to sell Theremin kits, I assume Yeah, Theremin Theremin kits. He was using a room and sharing it with water fear the guy had designed to but that's an odd combination. It was very interesting, because fortunately, no one was in that room at the time except Bob. And there were quite a few of them and sitting on stands. And there were also at least six or eight tubers sitting there looking very lovely. But the guy wasn't there. And he was in fact a tubist and had designed some evidently very good professional tumis which I don't know what happened with that world. Because we'll have to see very shortly became a member of the era mode company and started to work with Bob.

Rick Reid  19:14  
Now that led to you working with Bob on his modular synthesizers.

Herb Deutsch  19:19  
Oh yeah. I actually was called to go up there to look through and evaluate the development of the instruments. But I was still teaching at Hofstra and I live on Long Island. So I worked it out for a couple of years as a part time job where once every single week, I would fly up to ethica where the plant was, so I went back and forth and I continue that relationship until the mug company called me and asked me if I would be willing to go up there with more of a full Hi, i'm john. I was a member of the gray monk company until the end of the 1970s.

Rick Reid  20:09  
I've read and heard that even though Bob's focus went to the synthesizers for a very long period of time, obviously, that his first love you might say was the Theremin. Always had his hand in the Theremin somehow, yeah, at the same time.

Herb Deutsch  20:23  
Well, I don't know how much he had his hands in them well near them around them. Yeah, it was absolutely because

Rick Reid  20:34  
Did you ever have a chance in your professional career to either meet Professor Theremin or Clara rockmore or any of the other pioneers of the Theremin?

Herb Deutsch  20:43  
I almost met clever rock. almost almost because I did see Clara rockmore performed but I know I did not ever meet.

Rick Reid  20:55  
Let's talk about your song longing track on the Theremin 100 album that the New York Theremin society released? How did that song come about? What inspired you to write it?

Herb Deutsch  21:05  
What wired me to write it was really that I heard the potential beauty of the Theremin through listening to higher rock more. There was originally written for Theremin and piano. And then I expanded it for Theremin String Quartet. Recording I just on the album is feminine.

Rick Reid  21:32  
You had girl Caribbean, play Theremin. And it's got your wife Nancy on piano. How do you know Darrell? Was he a student of yours?

Herb Deutsch  21:42  
I met a bunch close in Asheville during your first major move.

Rick Reid  21:52  
What are the challenges and rewards of writing for Theremin it's quite a different instrument than your history and jazz in particular.

Herb Deutsch  22:01  
The reason it is related to my history and interest in jazz is because jazz in itself is really music which never totally locks itself on specific tones and uses the movement in and out of key periods of tension and excitement. That is really how I feel about what I feel about the Theremin is as it allows the player to approach his or her specific feeling about a tone and a melody and its direction. Because you really do it in air. And what that does is it makes your body physically relate to what your ear does when you're playing jazz. You're always improvising around the right notes. And that kind of thinking relates to the thinking of a Theremin.

Rick Reid  23:14  
I'm curious about why you had Darryl, perform Theremin on the recording rather than doing that yourself.

Herb Deutsch  23:21  
Because I never was that good. I mean, I still play my sermon. So I have one Theremin that I still use. But I don't play it every day. I don't sit down and say well, I'm gonna play a tune now. I enjoy playing the Theremin. I do play it quite frequently. I'd say the last couple of weeks I haven't been playing Theremin. But I've been playing music I've been playing on my flugel horn playing on three or four different mode synthesizers. But no, I haven't been playing my sermon that it's sitting right there.

Rick Reid  23:57  
Kind of wrapping up. So what do you think the future holds for Theremin music? Is it going to fade out or is it it's kind of on a big Renaissance right now? What do you see as a future of the pyramids and gesture controlled musical instruments?

Herb Deutsch  24:12  
Thurman has been of interest from a lot of people. Obviously, it's never been a popular instrument. But it's been an instrument that has given interest to a lot of people and I think it will continue that I cannot see that there would be any reason for it to not remain a fascinating instrument.

Rick Reid  24:31  
The Theremin 100 album features the herb Deutsch composition logging, and several other artists who have appeared on Theremin 30. It's still available from the New York Theremin society on CD vinyl or as a digital download. And no matter which version you buy, you get a bunch of downloadable bonus tracks. There's a link to the album in this month show notes. And herb Deutsch will be your virtual tour guide at a streaming event hosted by the Bob Moog Foundation and it's magium On December 13, there's a link to it on the Theremin 30 calendar. To wrap up this episode I'm going to play a track from the 2006 Kevin senate album, their remains of the world unite and takeover. I first heard Kevin's music about a decade ago when I started listening to David vessel's Sunday evening streaming radio show called spellbound, a brief program of music for Theremin it was Kevin, who performed the show's theme song. Sadly, that show ended with the death of David vessel several years ago, but it was my fond memory of spellbound that inspired me to launch this podcast last year. Here's Kevin Sennett, with a burst of color.

Rick Reid  29:10  
A big thank you goes to all of the artists who gave me permission to play their music in this podcast. Please buy their albums, watch their streaming events, and go to their shows when that's possible again in the near future. I also want to thank my special guest herb Deutsch for the great conversation. In the January episode, I'll have music from Finland based film score composer cap off left and in and the German duo brueckner and everlink. Until next time, I'm your host, Rick Reid, please wear your mask and follow the other public health rules where you live, so you can stay safe and we can all get together again soon. Happy Holidays.

David Brower  29:49  
You've been listening to the Theremin 30 podcast visit Theremin 30 on the web at Theremin three